Jun 3, 2024 - News

UCSD workers to join systemwide strikes

A man makes a speech to a crowd at a pro-Palestinian protest.

Pro-Palestinian protesters set up an encampment at UCSD in May. Photo: Grace Hie Yoon/Anadolu via Getty Images

Thousands of workers at UC San Diego are expected to strike today in protest of the university's handling of pro-Palestinian demonstrations on campus.

Why it matters: The strike comes after police arrested hundreds of students and employees at UCSD and other UC campuses across the state as they dismantled encampments, escalating tensions.

Zoom in: Last month, police in riot gear cleared the Gaza solidarity encampment on UCSD's campus and arrested 64 people, most of whom were students.

  • Those students also face university misconduct charges.

The big picture: UCSD joins the union-led strike across the UC system that includes academic researchers, graduate teaching assistants and postdoctoral scholars.

State of play: Thousands of student workers and other academic employees have walked off the job at UC campuses over the last two weeks, starting at UC Santa Cruz on May 20.

  • Student employees at UCLA and UC Davis have since joined the strike.
  • The strike will expand to UC Santa Barbara today and UC Irvine on Wednesday, according to United Auto Workers Local 4811.
  • The union is demanding that the university drop charges for all academic employees, students, faculty and staff who face disciplinary action or arrest resulting from pro-Palestinian protests, UCSD postdoctoral student and UAW 4811 recording secretary Joyce Chan told Axios via email.

Driving the news: UC officials are seeking a court order to bar UAW 4811, which represents nearly 48,000 student employees, from engaging in a strike.

  • Their filing to the California Public Employment Relations Board last week is the system's second request for an injunction against UAW 4811.

What they're saying: In the filing, attorneys for the university claim the strike is causing irreparable harm to hundreds of thousands of students who they say are now deprived of "access to key instructors."

  • In a statement, UCSD said the "illegal strike" violates the union's contract, which has a no-strike clause for "issues that have no bearing on employment at UC."
  • UCSD said the strike "disrupts typical class delivery, assignment grading and other learning activities during a critical time of year."

What to watch: The labor board could hand down a decision as soon as this week.

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